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The Line That Strikes Us

Enjoy the Poems seriesSometimes a phrase jumps off the page and sticks with me. I’m sure you have experienced similar moments. The choice of words resonates with my heart or touches something deep inside my mind, and I notice them replaying in my thoughts over the next few days, sometimes weeks or months. Sometimes years.

A recent line that has struck me is this one from Tennyson:

“He froth’d his bumpers to the brim,”

speaking of the old year as if it were a person. That idea of living life to the fullest reminds me of a similar quote by Jim Elliot about living “to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.”

During the past month or two this line from Emily Dickinson has recurred in my mind as I’ve walked with friends through loss and grief mingled with hope:

“This world is not conclusion.”

Words well put have a powerful ability to influence and shape our lives . . . and the lives of our children. As Charlotte Mason said:

“The line that strikes us as we read, that recurs, that we murmur over at odd moments—this is the line that influences our living” (Vol. 4, Book 2, p. 71).

We can offer our children a beautiful pageant of words well put by reading aloud poetry. It doesn’t have to be elaborate; it needn’t (shouldn’t) be analytical. Simply choose a poet for the year and read aloud his or her poems; enjoy them together.

Enjoy the Poems Series Now Available

We’re happy to announce Enjoy the Poems, a new series of books that will make it simple to give your children the gift of poetry—a gift of powerful lines that can influence their living.

Each book in the series focuses on one poet and gives you a suggested schedule for lingering with that poet through a year, “that he may have time to do what is in him towards cultivating the seeing eye, the hearing ear, the generous heart” (Vol. 5, p. 224).

Twenty-six complete poems are included, along with helpful background information, some tips for cultivating the imagination, occasional definitions, and inspiring notes and quotes from Charlotte Mason and others. In the back are pages reserved for your children to illustrate their favorite poems.

Plus, we’re pleased to feature a truly living biography on the poet—a biography that not only tells about the person, but paints pictures for the imagination and gives living ideas about the poet’s life that can also influence and shape your children as they read or hear it.

Those insights into the poet’s hearts and lives, as well as pictures of their faces, will add even more to the wonderful words of the poems themselves. A powerful combination that will offer many potential lines to strike both you and your students as you enjoy them together.

Enjoy the Poems books are currently available for Robert Louis Stevenson, Emily Dickinson, and Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Download a free sample and take advantage of the special introductory pricing through November 20.

We will return to our Narration Q & A next week and begin wrapping up the final questions in the series.

7 Responses to “The Line That Strikes Us”

  1. Heather November 7, 2014 at 12:02 am #

    What a lovely new addition to your website, thank you!

  2. Heather November 7, 2014 at 12:03 am #

    We have been studying Robert Louis Stevenson this year and I was very excited to see that this was one of the authors you have started with. I have a question that I wondered if you could help me with. I’d like to know what the suggested frequency for memorizing a poem would be. I don’t see that included in the suggested schedule so I wondered how that typically fit into Charlotte’s routine for the kids. Thanks in advance for your thoughts!

    • Sonya Shafer November 7, 2014 at 7:46 am #

      It looks like Charlotte scheduled one 10-minute slot per week in the lower grades for “Repetition: Poem,” which means working on memorizing and reciting it. The upper grades (approx. 4–12) had two 10-minute slots per week. I suspect that was because the older children were working on longer poems.

      So I would recommend working on the poem for memorization and recitation once or twice a week and keeping that repetition time very brief.

  3. Heather November 7, 2014 at 12:16 am #

    One fun find I just found on YouTube is a man who has taken several of Robert Louis Stevenson’s poems and put them to music. I have made a playlist of the ones included in your new book here https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL4tlDst_ysD_n-LspaAsMpmVNPyk-ifih, enjoy!

  4. kortney November 7, 2014 at 7:55 am #

    Oh, those two lines you included–from Tennyson + Dickinson–are filling my cup to the brim this morning. Thank you.

  5. Samara November 18, 2014 at 9:07 am #

    Can you tell me which would be most enjoyable for a 1st grade/preschool combo?

    • Sonya Shafer November 18, 2014 at 1:10 pm #

      I would recommend Robert Louis Stevenson for younger children.

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